This time line contains information about famous musical composers from medieval to modern day with an emphasis on composers who have made large impacts on musical expression.
Created by EPCHSBand on Apr 15, 2011
Last updated: 04/16/11 at 07:34 PM
Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American classical composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers". He is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 40s in a deliberately more accessible style than his earlier pieces, including the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo and his Fanfare for the Common Man. The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his works are archetypical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. However he wrote music in different styles at different periods of his life: his early works incorporated jazz or avant-garde elements whereas his later music incorporated serial techniques. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works he produced music in many other genres including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.
20th century music is defined by the sudden emergence of advanced technology for recording and distributing music as well as dramatic innovations in musical forms and styles. Because music was no longer limited to concerts, opera-houses, clubs, and domestic music-making, it became possible for music artists to quickly gain global recognition and influence. Twentieth-century music brought new freedom and wide experimentation with new musical styles and forms that challenged the accepted rules of music of earlier periods. Faster modes of transportation allowed musicians and fans to travel more widely to perform or listen. Amplification permitted giant concerts to be heard by those with the least expensive tickets, and the inexpensive reproduction and transmission or broadcast of music gave rich and poor alike nearly equal access to high quality music performances.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák (September 8, 1841 – May 1, 1904) was a Czech composer of Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. His works include operas, symphonic, choral and chamber music. His best-known works include his New World Symphony, the Slavonic Dances, "American" String Quartet, the opera Rusalka, and Cello Concerto in B minor.
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene. In his lifetime, Brahms' popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the Three Bs.
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in European music history, from about 1800 to 1910.
Romantic music as a movement evolved from the formats, genres and musical ideas established in earlier periods, such as the classical period, and went further in the name of expression and syncretism of different art-forms with music. Romanticism does not necessarily refer to romantic love, though that theme was prevalent in many works composed during this time period, both in literature, painting or music. Romanticism followed a path that led to the expansion of formal structures for a composition set down or at least created in their general outlines in earlier periods, and the end-result is that the pieces are 'understood' to be more passionate and expressive, both by 19th century and today's audiences. Because of the expansion of form (those elements pertaining to form, key, instrumentation and the like) within a typical composition, and the growing idiosyncrasies and expressivity of the new composers from the new century, it thus became easier to identify an artist based on his work or style.
Romantic music attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings, while preserving but in many cases extending the formal structures from the classical period, in others, creating new forms that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. The subject matter in the new music was now not only purely abstract, but also frequently drawn from other art-form sources such as literature, or history (historical figures) or nature itself.
Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer, virtuoso pianist, and music teacher, of French–Polish parentage. He was one of the great masters of Romantic music. He is also known as "the poet of the piano."
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. The crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.
The Classical period falls between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. The best known composers from this period are Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert; other notable names include Luigi Boccherini, Muzio Clementi, Antonio Soler, Antonio Salieri, François Joseph Gossec, Johann Stamitz, Carl Friedrich Abel, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.
George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, and concertos. Handel was born in Germany in the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. He received critical musical training in Italy before settling in London and becoming a naturalized British subject. His works include Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. He was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Handel's music was well-known to composers including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Baroque music describes a style of European classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1750. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the classical music canon, being widely studied, performed, and listened to. Composers of the baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Arcangelo Corelli, Claudio Monteverdi, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Henry Purcell. The baroque period saw the development of functional tonality. During the period, composers and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation, made changes in musical notation, and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size, range, and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established opera as a musical genre. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today.
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given the gradually adopted "Renaissance" characteristics: musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.
Medieval music is European music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends in approximately the early fifteenth century. Establishing the end of the medieval era and the beginning of the Renaissance is difficult; the usage in this article is the one usually adopted by musicologists.